On this trip I have enjoyed a few opportunities to return to my first photographic love, landscapes. There really is nothing like waiting for the light. Time slows down. Senses are heightened to notice the rhythmic wash of waves on the shore, the eerie cry of a solitary gull, the way the light touches the crests of the breakers, the curve of wet rocks at the shore’s edge, the drift of the clouds. How could I have forgotten?
This shot is from my iPhone and not exactly top quality – iPhone4’s camera is good but struggles in low light. The proper shots will have to wait until I get home. But even if none of them prove worthy, the experience was magical.
I love shooting macro into the light. You never know quite what you’re going to get, which is a huge part of the fun. In this image, I enjoy the rim lighting on the bumble bee as it visits verbena bonariensis in my garden. Incidentally, if you are looking to plant for wildlife, this verbena is a must.
This little bee is only slightly larger than a garden ant. There are more than 200 species of solitary bee in the UK and I have to declare I am stumped when it comes to identifying this little beauty. Any experts out there? Whatever its name, I think it is a very fetching little critter with its metallic green livery and pollen breeches.
Several people have recently asked me about the header image for this blog. It is Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. In August 2009, we spent a very enjoyable week in Northumberland, England’s most Northern county and its most sparsely populated. Even in the midst of the summer holiday season, it was easy to find peace and solitude.
We stayed in Seahouses, just down the coast from Bamburgh, and with spectacular views of the iconic castle. Despite Northumberland’s reputation for terrible weather, we had a week of sunny days and, every night, spectacular sunsets.
Bamburgh Castle stands on a basalt outcrop. The first written record of a fort on the site dates from 547CE but a fort had probably been there for at least a century. The Vikings destroyed the original fort in 993. At the heart of the present castle stands a Norman structure. Further building took place over the next several centuries but the castle finally fell into neglect in the 1700s.
The Victorian industrialist William Armstrong completed restoration of the castle and it is still owned by the Armstrong family. It is open to the public and has also been used as a location for several movies, including most recently the 1998 film, Elizabeth.
If you are ever in the area, Bamburgh Castle is well worth a visit, but beware: last admission is at 3.30 and the castle closes at 5 but the staff were so eager to get home that they started clearing us out at 4.30. An hour is most definitely not long enough to see the castle and admission is not especially cheap!